Fourth Time Lucky for Federal Government?

Fair Work Amendment (Bargaining Processes) Bill 2014

Explanatory memorandum

Second reading speech by Leader of the House Christopher Pyne, November 27, 2014

With the introduction into parliament this month of the Bargaining Processes Bill, the federal government will have four workplace relations bills either blocked, or under review by the Senate.

This latest attempt to introduce modest reforms to the law centres on the key issue that unions and their members be obliged to genuinely engage in enterprise agreement negotiations rather than go through the motions – the so called “strike first, bargain later” problem.

This shortcoming in the legislation was identified by the previous federal government’s carefully selected review panel which made a specific recommendation to fix this problem, so it is puzzling why see the Opposition is now working against this proposition. And the ACTU.

The other minor change proposed in this Bill is the requirement that parties seeking Commission approval for an enterprise agreement must demonstrate that productivity trade-offs were discussed during the negotiations. This is a step in the right direction.